MIAA OKs Recommendation for Student-Athletes to Receive COVID Vaccine

September 30, 2021 / Athletic AdministrationPlayer Safety
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and its board of directors approved a recommendation made by the Sports Medicine Committee (SMC) to recommend high school student-athletes get vaccinated against COVID, according to a report in the Worcester Telegram.

After the state’s SMC unanimously voted 22-0 to pass the recommendation last week, the board voted 22-0-1 to pass the recommendation on Tuesday.

Making this a recommendation rather than a requirement was, simply put, the safe route. First and foremost, it avoids any legal challenges, the Telegram reported.

miaa“To me, it’s a no-brainer,” said Robert Baldwin, who was named the MIAA’s executive director in July. “We’re highly recommending that we have as many of our student-athletes vaccinated as possible.

“We’re not requiring it, telling them they have to,” Baldwin added. “But we’re making a strong statement (to) our student-athletes so they can maximize their participation in the winter sports when they’re inside.”

Below is an excerpt from the Telegram’s story on the affirmation of the recommendation.

The MIAA is attempting to be proactive as there is a strong belief COVID cases will rise during the winter as more people move inside.

Along the same line of thought, TD Garden, which has traditionally hosted high school basketball and hockey championships, issued an edict Tuesday requiring anyone 12 and older to provide proof of full vaccination or a qualifying negative test to enter the arena beginning Thursday.

As it currently stands, that wouldn’t keep teams from competing at the Garden this winter, but it could put a dent in the size of the crowd cheering them on.

The MIAA could receive a big boost in seeing its recommendation become a reality thanks to updated mask-wearing guidelines announced Monday by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

As of Oct. 15, schools that can prove they have a vaccination rate of 80 percent or high among all students and staff would no longer be subject to the DESE requirement that everyone must wear a mask inside schools. (Those unvaccinated would still have to do so.)

“I am not naïve in the context of matters and what is going on in an urban center is different than what is going on in the Berkshires,” Baldwin said. “So for us to come out and do something higher than a recommendation without everyone else onboard (for starters, the state), I don’t think is prudent.”

To read the full report from the Telegram, click here.